Story by Ethan Kwak
Photos by Rachel (Shin-Hye) Choi
SPHS Boys’ Basketball fell short against La Cañada in a home game on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 74-51.
The first quarter began with the ball in Tigers’ possession but was followed by an untimely fumble on the court. La Cañada swiftly took possession, starting the scoring with a layup. Senior shooting guard Finny Ho followed with a jump shot which tied the score.
La Cañada blazed through South Pasadena’s defense, making a three pointer. The Tigers retaliated with successful jump shots by sophomore power forward Jack Madison and sophomore guard Oni Balogun. The Spartans, however, easily bypassed weaknesses in the Tigers’ defense, and surpassed the Tigers’ small lead.
Ho stole the ball on the rebound off the Tigers’ backboard and penetrated the Spartans’ defense, closing the gap. Another layup from Balogun tied the score. In the last minute of the opening quarter, La Cañada made a three pointer. Just thirty seconds to the buzzer, Ho managed another three to even the first quarter score at 17-17.
The second quarter brought junior point guard Taj Ringer off the bench. La Cañada quickly gained a two point lead, once again taking advantage of flaws in Tigers’ defensive play. With a short pass from Martinez, Ho countered the lead with a three pointer, slipping ahead of La Cañada. The Spartans struck back with another three to even the Tigers’ attempts to regain advantage.
The Spartans dominated the court with a streak of rebounds and layups. With three minutes left in the quarter, the Tigers were down 10 points. Junior point guard Derek Peterson blocked attempts at the Tigers’ net but missed two crucial shots. Towards the end, senior shooting guard Nick Chabot revitalized the Tigers’ stagnant offensive play with a transition three. The second quarter finished with La Cañada in the lead 44- 27.
The third quarter started strong for the Tigers, pressured to make a late-game comeback. Sophomore point guard Sebastian Martinez pushed through the Spartans’ strong defense, making a quick layup. The Tigers had multiple opportunities to rebound but lost the ball due to the opposing strong defense. Balogun assisted senior point guard Nick Chabot in a transition three. Junior point guard Derek Peterson penetrated the defense for another two pointer. The Spartans led 57- 38 at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter began with a full timeout. La Cañada remained strong defensively from the beginning to end. Madison and Ringer made multiple unsuccessful attempts at the net. Madison notched up two bank shots along with a layup by sophomore point guard Miles Nowe. La Cañada kept their lead with frequent rebounds, ending the game victorious at 74- 51.
“…I’m not trying to take anything away from what La Cañada did but we played terribly defensively. I think some of the guys missed too many assignments. They hit some good shots … but sometimes it’s just not in your favor to win tonight,” Coach Ernest Baskerville said. “I’m hoping that Russ can be healthy, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. He’s out for the season, so what we need is for the guys to bunker down and … hope we can hit some stuff.”